UNITED LAUNCH ALLIANCE ATLAS5-531 ROCKET & AEHF-3 DOD SATELLITE.
Photo By: United Launch Alliance of the AEHF-2 Mission (CLICK for full size photo; also links for LIVE streaming and mission info below).
On Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 0704 UTC (0304 EDT) a United launch Alliance (ULA) AtlasV-531 Rocket designated (AV-041) will be launching the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-3) satellite built by Lockheed Martin to serve the Department Of Defense (DOD) from Space Launch Complex-41 (SLC-41) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in its 531 Configuration. This will be the 40th launch of an Atlas 5 rocket and the 75th launch for the ULA.
531 Configuration explained:
5 = 5 meter fairing (RUAG Space)
3 = 3 Solid Rocket Booster Strap On Rockets (AeroJet)
1 = 1 Engine Upper Stage (RL-10 CENTAUR)
The Atlas V 531 consists of a single Atlas V booster stage, the Centaur upper stage, three solid rocket boosters (SRBs), and a 5-m payload fairing (PLF).
The Atlas V booster is 12.5 ft in diameter and 106.5 ft in length. The booster’s tanks are structurally rigid and constructed of isogrid aluminum barrels, spun-formed aluminum domes, and intertank skirts. Atlas booster propulsion is provided by the RD-180 engine system (a single engine with two thrust chambers). The RD-180 burns RP-1 (Rocket Propellant-1 or highly purified kerosene) and liquid oxygen, and it delivers 860,200 lb of thrust at sea level. The Atlas V booster is controlled by the Centaur avionics system, which provides guidance, flight control, and vehicle sequencing functions during the booster and Centaur phases of flight.
The SRBs are approximately 61 in. in diameter, 67 ft in length, and constructed of a graphiteepoxy composite with the throttle profile designed into the propellant grain. The SRBs are jettisoned by structural thrusters following a 92-second burn. The Centaur upper stage is 10 ft in diameter and 41.5 ft in length. Its propellant tanks are constructed of pressure-stabilized, corrosion resistant stainless steel.
Centaur is a liquid hydrogen/ liquid oxygen- (cryogenic-) fueled vehicle. It uses a single RL10A-4-2 engine producing 22,300 lb of thrust. The cryogenic tanks are insulated with a combination of helium-purged insulation blankets, radiation shields, and spray-on foam insulation (SOFI). The Centaur forward adapter (CFA) provides the structural mountings for the fault-tolerant avionics system and the structural and electrical interfaces with the spacecraft.
The AEHF-3 satellite is encapsulated in the Atlas V 5-m diameter short PLF. The 5-m PLF is a sandwich composite structure made with a vented aluminum-honeycomb core and graphiteepoxy face sheets. The bisector (two-piece shell) PLF encapsulates both the Centaur and the spacecraft, which separates using a debris-free pyrotechnic actuating system. Payload clearance and vehicle structural stability are enhanced by the all-aluminum forward load reactor (FLR), which centers the PLF around the Centaur upper stage and shares payload shear loading. The vehicle’s height with the 5-m short PLF is approximately 197 ft.
Launch will be streamed live at: http://www.ulalaunch.com
United launch Alliance AEHF-3 PDF Mission Booklet: http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/docs/missionbooklets/AV/av_aehf3_mob.pdf
United launch Alliance AEHF-3 mission overview: http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/pages/Launch.shtml
ATLAS-V Rocket Main Page: http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/pages/Products_AtlasV.shtml
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Site: http://www.pratt-whitney.com/Power_Propulsion_and_Optimization
Lockheed Martin AEHF satellites: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/advanced-extremely-high-frequency–aehf-.html